Piles of style as Willie proves to be 'a banker' for Rich
THERE were superglued-feather extravaganzas, old stoles discovered in dusty cupboards and some lucky battered horseshoes all in the mix for a hectic day at Cheltenham.
A rainbow-hue of colours could be spotted peeking out amongst the sea of tweed as Ladies' Day unfolded at the famous Prestbury track – yet perhaps the sartorial efforts of the race-goers were not quite enough to rival the epic efforts displayed at the likes of Punchestown and Galway.
And if even the aptly named flamboyant banker Rich Ricci admits he can't make investing in horses pay off, then what hope do those battered and bruised punters have?
The former head of Barclays Bank did deliver a 'loan' for the punters in the form of Faugheen with Ruby Walsh aboard, the heavily backed 6/4 favourite flashing first past the post in the first race of the day.
Ricci was full of praise for trainer Willie Mullins's "magic" touch. "He's patient, I think that's underrated as a virtue, he is a very patient man. Sometimes to my frustration and others, he seems to know what each horse needs," he said.
"No, no, no," uttered Ricci when asked if he was now starting to make money with two Cheltenham winners so far this week. "You are in it for the love of the game. They are expensive and very fragile things . . . it is not a game to be an investor in."
Would the oh-so patient Carlow trainer be the type of guy you might put in charge of a bank say? "Willie could do lots of things. I asked him one time what he would do if he wasn't going to be a trainer, he said he'd be an architect. He's got the brains to do a lot of things," said Ricci.
It wasn't a great day for the punters. The English-trained O'Faolains Boy romped home at 12-1 in the second race. Clutching a 'lucky' twisted horse shoe that came off the horse in the winners' enclosure, the English owners told how he had been named after a pub in Kilkenny.
Others spotted around the track included former Ireland soccer stars Niall Quinn and Stephen Hunt and Zara Phillips, the queen's granddaughter, who gave birth to a baby girl Mia in January.
And it appeared the famous Henderson stable was winning in the fashion stakes. Camilla (26), daughter of Nicky Henderson, trainer to the queen, landed the best-dressed ladies' prize in a Katherine Hooker coat.
An eye-catching green woolen dress and a hat with a super-glued feather atop it, landed florist Elaine Waterworth, from the Maze, in Newry, Co Down, the runner-up slot.